Jun 22, 2009

Fagioli all'Uccelletto recipe

Beans with a light tomato sauce and fragrant sage leaves: a Tuscan classic side dish. When added with sausage links, it becomes a perfect entrée.

I still haven't found the reason for their name, which translates "beans little bird-style."

Since the temperatures are dropping all over Italy this week, why not cook up some fagioli, watch a sports event on TV and call it an early night?

500 g (1 lb) dried cannellini (white beans), soaked for 3 hours.
50 g (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
7-8 leaves of fresh sage
1-2 fresh plum tomatoes or a small can of tomatoes (I use half of a 14-oz can)
Boiling water
Salt and pepper to taste
8 Italian link sausages (OPTIONAL see below)

If you choose to serve your fagioli all'uccelletto with sausages, you'll want to choose a kind that won't overpower the beans in terms of spice and oomph. For this dish, I always use 2 or 3 per guest of my favorite sausage, luganega.

Begin by boiling the beans until 3/4 done in lightly salted water. This will take about an hour, though you should begin checking them after 30 minutes. You don't want them to go mushy on you. If you are including sausages, prick their skins lightly with a fork and simmer them separately in boiling water to cover for 15 minutes to render out some of the fat.

Once the beans are almost done, set the olive oil to heat over medium heat, in a heavy bottomed clay pot or Dutch oven. When the oil has become hot but not smoking, add the garlic and the sage (not more than seven or eight leaves; too much sage will make the beans bitter). Cook until the sage crackles and the garlic is lightly browned.

Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, then add the beans and some of their bean broth to cover. Season with salt and pepper, add the sausages, and simmer everything until the beans are quite soft, stirring occasionally and adding bean broth as necessary to keep it all from drying out.

Which wine? I would go with a simple Chianti Classico.

And just in case, I suggest you sleep with the windows open...


  1. This looks so good! I love anything with beans and tomatoes and sage. Yum! I'll be making it when the weather is even more autumnal.

    Funny comment you slipped in at the end, in small type no less. Hahaha!

    Welcome back,

  2. hot yesterday, cooling off today...gotta love the funky weather, but i see this one was posted for a week ago...so really confused. smiles. sounds like a great fall dish...

  3. Actually this was posted over a month ago....how did it pop up on blog roll again. Are you a technology wizard as well as a magician in the kitchen, LaLaLola?

  4. Perhaps the name refers to them looking like tiny birds eggs?

  5. These look lovely, Lola. I just could have taken sage this week from my farm share, and now wish I had. Maybe there will still be sage next week.

  6. lol... sleep with the windows open~ you are so cute!

    Can't wait to make this!

  7. The sage leaves are the little birds.